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Ellen Seidman is a magazine editor, web content developer and award-winning writer. She blogs at 1000 Perplexing Things About Parenthood for Babble, as well as at Love That Max. Ellen lives in the New York area with her husband, two kids and assorted dustballs.

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9 Secrets to Getting Kids to Clean Their Room (Without Nagging)

By Ellen Seidman |

My daughter’s good at spelling, playing the violin and tormenting her brother. Cleaning her room: Not so much. Actually, she rather sucks at it.

At least once a week I can be heard saying, “Would you please clean your room?” and/or “Clean your room or you won’t get allowance!” and/or “If you don’t clean your room, you’re not going out to play!” At times, Sabrina so dreads neatening up her room that she’s actually given up allowance and biking outside with friends.

She’s 7, an age where I shouldn’t be cleaning her room just so it looks presentable (forget picture perfect). Finally, weary of nagging, I decided to find out exactly what it would take to get her to clean up her room. We sat down together at our kitchen table over fruit smoothies, and I conducted a little interview.

Sabrina came up with some great ideas—and because she thought of them, I figured they had a chance of working. Sure enough, they (mostly) did. Here’s what happened when I asked, “OK, what are your ideas for getting you to keep your room neat?”

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How To Get Kids To Clean Their Rooms (Without Nagging)

No-nag cleanup idea #1: "Buy boxes for all the stuff! And then put the stuff in the boxes!"

A no-brainer! I already loved the Home Depot Martha Stewart Fabric Drawers I'd recently used to transform our playroom. We ordered a bunch more online (free shipping!). The day they arrived, Sabrina begged (yes, begged) to open the box and use them. She spent an hour sorting stuff—toys in a few boxes, notebooks/folders and craft supplies in others. She especially loved labeling them with a Sharpie. Watch out, Martha!

A big thanks to The Home Depot for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.


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About Ellen Seidman

ellenseidman

Ellen Seidman

Ellen Seidman is a magazine editor, web content developer and award-winning writer. She blogs at 1000 Perplexing Things About Parenthood for Babble, as well as at Love That Max. Ellen lives in the New York area with her husband, two kids and assorted dustballs. Read bio and latest posts → Read Ellen's latest posts →

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3 thoughts on “9 Secrets to Getting Kids to Clean Their Room (Without Nagging)

  1. Amber says:

    I like the idea of giving the kids a set time to clean up their room and making it a sort of game. My children are competitive against one another so I feel like that’s a good way to use that to my advantage. “Let’s see who can get their room the cleanest in 5 minutes!”

  2. Emily @ Live Renewed says:

    My kids are the worst at cleaning up their room! And when they do clean it up, it’s destroyed again like 10 minutes later. It seems like they try to get out every. single. toy. they own! Drives me crazy! They’re only 4 and 3, but I think I’ll try your idea and see what their solutions are for getting them to clean their room!

  3. laurenjimeson says:

    These are great ideas! I make it a game with my little one and we see how fast she can clean up her toys. I also love using boxes to organize their toys. That makes it even easier for them to clean things up.

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